A Tour of Scale City
Following Hanna and Michael's success in qualifying, Michael takes Hanna on a tour of Scale City...
Today’s story is part of the Prince Hanna series.
Hanna and Michael have both managed to make it through qualifying. Now on a brief break before the main event kicks off, Michael and Hanna decide to spend a day exploring the city.
Here’s a link to the previous part in Hanna’s story:
And here’s a link to part one:
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Returning from qualifying, Hanna and Michael were led back to the town square along with everyone else. When Hanna saw her dad, she bolted off after him, leaving Michael alone.
Michael looked around at all of the waiting parents in the town square.
“Michael!” a voice shouted.
Michael looked over and found his dad looking back at him. His dad had an expression of pure stress.
“How’d it go?” his dad asked when Michael was close enough.
“I made it through,” said Michael.
Suddenly, Michael’s dad had an unstoppable grin. He snatched Michael up and pulled him in for a big hug.
“Well done, lad!” he said.
Michael’s arms were down by his side as his dad squeezed him.
“This is the year,” his dad said. “This is the year. I can feel it.”
Finally, he let Michael go. The grin was still there.
“Can I have my paints now?” Michael asked.
“Of course,” his dad said. “Let’s go home.”
The father and son started off to leave the town square. And so the quiz began.
“How did it go?” Michael’s dad asked him. “Tell me everything.”
When they got home, Michael’s dad told Michael to stay in the living room while he grabbed his reward for making it through qualifying.
Michael’s dad came back with a little box of a half-dozen different paints and a fresh white canvas the size of a bed pillow.
This time it was Michael giving out the big hug.
“You earned it,” said his dad.
Michael’s dad set down the kit of paints and the canvas on the table. The first thing Michael did was look over all of the different paint colours. His creative mind was already getting to work. He was mixing and matching colours, combining reds and blues, adding darkness, balancing colours like a chef balances a meal. He was picturing all of the different things he could bring to life, how he could fill that canvas. Maybe he could paint a portrait. Turn the canvas sideways and he could paint a landscape of an abandoned castle covered with vines. Or maybe he could recreate the community garden. The possibilities were endless.
The next day, Michael got to the town square bright and early and waited for Hanna. He was going to give her a tour of the city. He was feeling fantastic, excited for the day ahead.
Michael didn’t get along well with the other dragons at school. It felt like all of the friendships were already locked in. Michael felt left out and every attempt he had made to make new friends had fallen apart or came back to slap him in the face. He was just happy to get to spend the day with someone his age and who wasn’t family. And Hanna didn’t know Michael. He was able to have a blank slate. He didn’t have to deal with all of the baggage of school.
When he saw Hanna, he felt a smile come over him.
“Good morning,” he said cheerfully.
His smile went unmatched.
“Hi… there,” she said, letting out a heavy yawn in between the two words.
“Sleepy?” asked Michael.
“Didn’t get to sleep until late at night,” said Hanna. “I couldn’t stop thinking about the Fire Festival.”
“Nervous?” he asked.
“No,” said Hanna. “Excited.”
Now there was a smile.
“So what’s the plan?” Hanna asked.
“How about a little tour of Scale City?” said Michael.
“Sounds good to me,” she said.
The two of them walked out of the town square and set off into the streets of the city.
It was a lively, bustling morning in Scale City. There was excitement in the air. It was Fire Festival season, after all.
Hanna and Michael walked together through the city. Michael chit-chatted about the city’s history and about past Fire Festivals.
At one point, they were walking past a giant, regal cobblestone building. It was majestic with long flags draped down the front of it on either side of a door big enough for a cyclops to stroll in without ducking.
“What’s that place?” Hanna asked.
Michael barely glanced up at it.
“That’s where I go to school,” he said.
“You’re joking!” said Hanna. “That’s your school?”
“Unfortunately, yes,” he said.
Hanna was gobsmacked. “Unfortunately? What do you mean ‘unfortunately’? Do you have any idea how lucky you are? This place looks like a royal castle. It’s bigger than any building in Courage Town.”
“Yeah, well, the grass is always greener on the other side, I guess,” said Michael.
“The grass is always greener?” asked Hanna. “What do you mean?”
“It’s an old expression,” said Michael. “It’s about how dragons always think there’s somewhere else nicer than where they are.”
“Well, that’s one point for Courage Town,” said Hanna. “The grass is way greener in Courage Town. I haven’t seen a single blade of grass anywhere in Scale City. But I’m just kidding. I get it. And it’s probably true. It’s easy to obsess over all of the good stuff about somewhere else and take what you already have for granted. But that doesn’t change the fact that your school looks incredible.”
“It’s nothing to do with the building,” he said. “I just don’t like school. I don’t get along well with my classmates.”
“Me neither,” said Hanna. “Except for my best friend, Carrie. But yeah. I get it.”
They carried on past Michael’s school and continued on through the city streets. Michael led Hanna to a cobblestone courtyard with a water fountain in the middle of it. Hanna was blown away and went straight up to the fountain and felt the water with her hand. Michael watched on with a smile. It was sweet to see someone enjoying his city so much. Perhaps the grass on which was standing was greener than he gave it credit. In any case, he knew exactly what his next painting should be.
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